In honor of National Public Health Week, please join us in celebrating all of our wonderful partners who work every day to improve our communities! The theme of NPHW this year is to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation — by year 2030.
Jaci Murphy, BSN, RN, is a Senior Community Health Nurse Supervisor for the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, working at the Magnolia Project, a federal Healthy Start program and initiative of the Coalition. She shares in this guest post the role her organization plays in building a healthy community in Northeast Florida!
Nursing and Yoga – A successful pairing!
My role as a public health nurse is to be an educator and offer information and counseling to communities and populations that encourage positive health behaviors. I am tasked with improving the health of patients through evidence-based recommendations while encouraging individuals to receive preventative services. Through public health nursing, I can inspire a larger group of people to engage in healthy lifestyles and ultimately live longer lives. At the Magnolia Project, I have the opportunity to lay a foundation for the participants to achieve health through patient education, advocacy and individualized treatment.
I provide public health nursing through my involvement with Yoga in the Streets. The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and the Magnolia staff regularly discussed how to create a space for Magnolia participants to explore the benefits of yoga. Much literature is written about how yoga can improve mindfulness, self-confidence, self-esteem and physical health. The Magnolia Project participants often combat an overwhelming amount of social and financial factors (social determinants of health) that contributes to a rampant level of toxic stress. Yoga in the Streets’ objective is to help individuals that are living in chronic stressful environments find a peaceful place within so the benefits of yoga can help reverse the physical and emotional damage created by toxic stress. As a nurse, I assess each participant, take their blood pressure before and after yoga and educate the participant on their blood pressure readings by promoting regular activity to combat high blood pressure and other diseases such as stroke and diabetes.
Yoga has a negative stereotype among many intercity residents, so the Magnolia staff sought out to minimize obstacles and wanted to create a level of curiosity that community members would be intrigued to try it, hence Yoga in the Streets. Yoga is brought to the community participants in parks, basketball courts, community rooms within apartment complexes and within the clinic. By taking away the building and the cost, we could minimize the stereotype and build intrigue by holding classes in the open…come as you are.
The Magnolia Project won the Blue Ribbon Award for Yoga in the Streets at the First 1000 Days Florida Summit held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Overall: 90.8% left class with positive emotions, 60% decrease in systolic pressure, 50.7% decrease in diastolic pressure and on average the systolic decreased by 3.65 mmHg and the diastolic decreased by 1.57 mmHg.
Working for the Department of Health in Duval County, at the Magnolia Project, has provided me the opportunity to provide much needed public health services to the clients in our community.